Monthly Archives: January 2014

Why Matt Cutts Guest Post Warning Shouldn’t Freak You Out

Matt Cutts recently published a post on the dangers of guest blogging for SEO.

Matt Cutts, the Chief Engineer of Google

Google’s chief engineer made a statement about guest blogging that freaked out the entire blogging and SEO community. Matt Cutts said that “stick a fork in guest blogging – it is dead.” Many people panicked when they heard Cutt’s recent statement. He made some very valid points, but there is no reason to freak out over them. Here are some things that you should take his words with a grain of salt.

His Concern is Spam

Cutt’s headline sounds very hyperbolic. You would think he was saying that guest blogging is  a terrible practice that should never be used. However, when you actually digest the content you see that isn’t what he meant at all. Here are his exact words:

if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company

Cutts then shows a “guest blogging request” email from someone that is very spammy.

I certainly understand where Cutts is coming from here. Guest blogging has been used by a lot of shady SEO linkbuilders. There are companies that hire writers that clearly don’t write good English to write their posts for them. There are even writers that use article spinners to create dozens of versions of a single article and submit it to many different websites. There are also plenty of people that use heavily anchored links or links that aren’t even relevant to the content.

Should spammy guest bloggers stop what they are doing? Absolutely. I am sure Google is going to start hammering them hard in the near future. However, that doesn’t mean that legitimate guest bloggers need to stop what they are doing. Cutts even said that guest blogging used to be a respectable thing before being overtaken by spammers. I agree and disagree with him on this point. The truth is that while there are a lot of crappy spammers out there, there are also plenty of excellent guest bloggers that add real value to the blogosphere.

Cutts Clarified that All Guest Blogging Isn’t Bad

Cutts realized that he freaked a lot of people out when he made his statement. A lot of commentors replied that guest blogging is a still a decent idea. Cutts updated his post to state that guest blogging isn’t bad. He said that the problem was guest blogging for SEO purposes.

There is really nothing wrong with using guest blogging to help improve your SEO presence. There is no reason to avoid guest blogging altogether. The problem is when you start using it purely as a way to build links.

Any spammy linkbuilding strategy should be avoided. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to stop linkbuilding altogether. Every website owner needs to build links to boost their SEO. When done properly, guest blogging is one of the most legitimate linkbuilding techniques.

Google’s Business Depends on Fear of SEO

Matt Cutts and other experts from Google have always been trying to scare people from doing things related to SEO. Cutts has certainly shared some great tips, but he and the rest of the Google Team do go overboard with their warnings. Why would they do that?

There are two reasons that Google wants to scare away SEOs. The first is the one people usually talk about. Google wants to provide the highest quality search results for people. Clever SEOs can make their job a lot harder, because they can sometimes trick Google into ranking companies on the front page when they aren’t the most relevant to a search term.

However, there is another reason that Google wants to bully SEOs.

Most people forget that Google is a business. It’s primary revenue source is advertisements. The company needs to convince companies to buy its ads to stay in business. They wouldn’t be able to stay in business if everyone was ranking in the organic search results for their most desirable keywords. They are pretty good at keeping spammy sites from ranking, but there are always some that slip through the cracks. They need to try to scare people from doing anything related to SEO, but they won’t come right out and say that. Most likely they will try to stop people from using strategies that clearly work.

An Algorithm Probably Can’t Identify a Guest Post

There is another reason that people need to take Google’s words with a grain of salt. It is very unlikely that Google can tell the difference between a guest post or any other article.

Far too many people think that Google is some kind of omniscient god. They think they need to burn goats at the foot of an oracle to atone for their sins if their SEO rankings drop.  Google certainly uses one of the most sophisticated algorithms in the world. However, it is still just an algorithm. The chances that it can tell an algorithm can tell that the content is a guest post are probably not very high, especially if the blogger didn’t use terms like “guest post” or have a “Write for Us” page.

The algorithm is most likely just capable of evaluating the quality of the content (which is very subjective to a computer) and unnatural patterns in it. A low quality guest post that is filled with spammy looking links if probably going to send the same red flag to Google that any other suspicious post would. The issue is that guest posts written by SEO freelancers are probably more likely to have unnatural looking links and keywords in it if the blogger doesn’t edit it beforehand.

Whether you are a publisher or guest blogger, you shouldn’t be scared about publishing a guest post. Your concerns should be the same as any other article:

  • Focus on quality content
  • Make sure the links are to relevant sites
  • Make sure that the anchor text looks natural

As long as you follow these rules you should be fine.

What is the Future of Guest Blogging?

Will Google start making some changes to its algorithm to target guest post spam? Probably. However, those changes will probably affect all kinds of other articles with paid or otherwise unnatural looking links as well, so you shouldn’t expect that avoiding guest blogging is going to help anyways.

I do think that you should be very careful about the way you implement your guest blogging strategy from here on. It is worth repeating that there is nothing wrong with building links. You just need to be careful to make sure that your links don’t look spammy. My takeaway from Matt Cutt’s recent post would be:

If you are using weird looking anchor texts, writing low quality content, publishing on content farms or linking to sites that have nothing to do with your posts then you should definitely stop.

If you are focusing on guest blogging to promote your brand first and worry about SEO last then you should be just fine.

Creative Commons license by planetc1

Review of My Blog Guest Pro

The team that made My Blog Guest PRO possible!

The awesome team that made My Blog Guest PRO possible!

Guest blogging is a rewarding, but sometimes tiresome process. You need to spend time prospecting new sites and forming relationships with new bloggers. There are a number of great communities such as My Blog Guest that make the job easier, but the process can still be very intensive. Fortunately, My Blog Guest has a premium subscription called My Blog Guest Pro that can make guest blogging much easier. Should you buy a premium subscription to the site? Here are some things that you should consider before making your decision.

Benefits of a My Blog Guest Premium Membership

I have had a premium account with My Blog Guest for over two years and have found it to be very helpful. I know a lot of other Internet marketers that have accounts on the site too. It really is a great way to streamline the process. Here are some reasons you may want to look into upgrading your account as well.

Article Gallery

Premium members can post articles in the My Blog Guest article gallery. This is by far the best feature of the premium account.

You can include up to one promotional link in the body or biography of your article. You can wait for other bloggers to make offers on your posts and choose the blogger that you would like to publish. There are a number of benefits to using the article gallery:

  • You will offers from many different publishers that you never looked for before. This means that all you have to do is write an excellent article wait for offers. It beats the heck out of spending hours prospecting new sites that may not even respond to your pitches.
  • Many of the bloggers that make offers on articles on My Blog Guest do not accept guest posts in any other way. Some of them have even tried charging a fee when I submitted articles directly to their site, but they made free offers on the article gallery. This means that you have exclusive access to some excellent niche sites.
  • The moderators are willing to help you promote your articles to other bloggers. It is always great when you have the support of an entire community behind you, especially an excellent one like My Blog Guest.

Publishing to the article gallery is very straightforward. You just have to upload your article to the “Article Content” section and fill out the other fields on the page. You should choose a catchy title and write an original biography.

Other Galleries

The articles gallery became one of the most popular features of My Blog Guest. Ann Smarty and the other site owners have since launched a couple of other great galleries that premium members can take advantage of.

Infographics Gallery

The infographics gallery is a great place to get exposure for visual content that you create. I personally haven’t used it before, but it seems to be a great directory for artists.

Ebook Gallery

My Blog Guest has also created a great gallery to promote ebooks. I have used this gallery to promote my own ebook and have been very satisfied with the results. You can write briefer descriptions of your ebook than an article, which means it is easy to scale the ebook gallery.

It seems like there aren’t as many bloggers that are using the ebook gallery, but I guess that makes sense. The article gallery is used to promote all kinds of different blogs and companies, whereas only a few bloggers create ebooks. However, I found it to be a great resource and I am sure you will as well if you are a digital publisher.

Article Requests

There is also a special section where some sites make specific requests for articles. It is a great part of the site to check out. It is better than the gallery in many ways, because you know what sites to target and what they are looking for. You will have to pay a little extra for this feature (an extra $10 a month) but it is definitely worth the money.

Private Forum

There are a number of great forums on the site, but the best are only available to premium members. There is a forum where you can share the latest guest blogging tips and tricks. There is also a great forum for people to share article ideas (this is particularly valuable for anyone publishing in the gallery). I strongly suggest that anybody that is new to guest blogging consider posting in the article ideas section. Ann Smarty in particular gives awesome advice for people that are still trying to learn what types of content are most likely to get offers.

 

Limits of My Blog Guest

This section is going to be a lot shorter, because frankly I don’t have any real complaints about the My Blog Guest platform. However, there are some limitations that some people will want to be aware of before deciding whether it is right for them.

Limit of One Link

You will only be allowed to use one link in your articles on the gallery. However, some publishers will occasionally tell you in their offer that they allow more than one link. You may also check the guidelines of the sites that make offers to see if they allow more than one link. If they do then you can consider sending them a private message to check before accepting the offer.

Only Natural Anchor Texts

You will only be allowed to use natural looking anchor texts in your guest posts. That means you can’t use something that is grammatically incorrect or geo-targeted  such as “plumber san rafael.” They have also started scrutinizing guest bloggers that constantly link to the same sites with the same anchors.

To be honest, I don’t really think of this as a disadvantage. I think that it is good that Ann Smarty and the other moderators starting cracking down on people that were using quirky anchored links. However, you may have some clients that still insist on using these goofy looking links. You may initially be disappointed that you can’t promote them on My Blog Guest, but you shouldn’t consider it too much of a loss. The truth is that they probably won’t be your client very long anyways when they finally realize that these types of links don’t really work.

Consider Upgrading

You can receive a My Blog Guest Pro account for only $70 a month by visiting this page and upgrading your account. This is definitely worth money if you are going to be placing a number of guest posts each month. You will need to pay an extra $10 if you want to make suggestions to the article requests section. I have just started using the articles requests myself, but think that it is well worth the cost.

Image copyright SEOSmarty